Over the next few weeks you are likely to see similar posts from the rest of the GWW Games Staff. It’s our ode to the big holiday games release bash that occurs every year. During the period from the 2005 Holiday Release season until that of 2012/13, it was lopsidedly so, with very, very few games of any significant caliber being released in the windows outside of the holiday season. Happily, we are slowly seeing an inching back to a time when there were good games being released throughout the year.
But that’s not what today is about of course. In addition to making select choices on whether to gorge ourselves on turkey, desserts, or various drinks of alcoholic origin, some of us will also be making judicious choices on just which of this fall’s big and small releases to procure. We’ll be suffering from FOMO, but succumbing to that often leads to an even bigger gamer problem. Namely BL;TB (backlog; too big). I’ve suffered from the latter due to the former for much of the past two decades. Some of us cannot afford all of the gaming goodness that drops between the release of that year’s Madden and December 31st. For those who can, even fewer find the time to consume it all.
So here we go. I’m first in the barrel and here’s what I plan on buying and playing this Holiday Release Season. To put some constraints on myself and any other staffers who follow-up, I am limiting the list to the top five games across all of the systems that I currently game on:
Forza Motorsport 6 (XBox One) - September 15th: I never expected to become a fan of this series. When Forza debuted on the XBox back in 2005, I was too inebriated with the likes of Gran Turismo and Project Gotham Racing. I was just too full of racers to pick up yet another franchise. Forza 3’s abundant customization features finally drew me in, however. I skipped 4, grabbed 5, but really fell in love with Horizons 2. With Forza 5, I missed catching up with many of my racing friends because I did not get the XB1 at launch. I expect to see many of them this fall once Forza Motorsport 6 hits the stores and digital download. The demo is available now and entitles players of the demo to a free DLC car when the game launches. The gameplay trailer looks amazing, but so did Forza 5’s, and of course much controversy followed that title after its release. I am mainly on board for this because Forza 5 is an almost entirely different game now than it was when it released. Any development team that can do that has my undivided attention.
NBA 2k126 (PC) - September 29th: Most people do not know this, but I used to be a huge sports gamer. I always had multiple
seasons of Madden, a number of basketball games, and hockey installed on my various systems, both consoles and PC. I eschewed those games starting with console generation 7. The NBA 2K game that released with the launch of the 360 was the last one that I spent any time with. But I’ve just loosened up about 20 hours a week in my schedule and I think there is room in my gaming life to get a solid sports game that supports multiple seasons in a franchise mode. Looking at last year’s track record, NBA 2k16 is coming from the strongest pedigree, so, for sports, it is at the top of my shopping list.
Need for Speed (PC) - November 3rd: There’s been a ton of controversy, some corporate sleight of hand, and probably some bruised feelings over who did what to whom and what this game may or may not be about. Marketing style and what pre-release information and media has been dropped seems to point towards a NFS Underground approach. There is no question that
my favorite NFS type of game is built in the Hot Pursuit mold, followed closely by Most Wanted. I reserve the right to strike this one from my list if it starts to look like a stinker. But my fingers are crossed.
Star Wars Battlefront (PS4) - November 17th: I suspect that I am one of several million who have the hots for this title. The intermix of a big multiplayer focused game centered on the Star Wars IP combined with a very close release of a movie that has, arguably, been anticipated for 38 years, is a powerful nectar indeed. The difference on my end is that I have never played a Battlefront game. They’ve just never piqued my interest. But I’m all in on this one. I am not sure if it is the striking visuals, the intelligent setup and scripting of the individual battles, or just a strong yearn for a powerful multiplayer experience. My one worry is whether or not I’ll be able to keep up with a community that is likely to be heavily populated by Star Wars fanatics. While I enjoy myself a good Jedi flick from time-to-time, I’m not interested in an online experience that might shun all but the most knowledgeable of Star Wars mythology. Private room creation, user controlled server settings, and surgical matchmaking control are all game design elements that have been on the wane over the last few years, and it seems that most games just strive to junk everyone into commodified online experiences. I’ll need a bit more control over who I play with than that in order to stay interested.
Trackmania Turbo (XB1) - December 01: This might seem like a wildcard pick, but I’ve enjoyed several iterations of this franchise on the PC. A quite crazy and hectic approach to racing, Trackmania has always been about building insane custom tracks and turning physics on its head. Having played other racing titles that had custom track creation capability, what I found on consoles was that no one every played the user created tracks. I’m interested to see how development studio Nadeo transitions this title to the console arena and whether they can retain enough of the franchise’s soul that made it one of my guilty pleasures on the PC.
I’m sure you guys out there are also making your shopping list so sound off in the comments below!! We’re all interested in hearing what everyone else is planning on picking up for this holiday season!